First, let me begin by telling you that I do plan to write the follow-up article I announced last month which would go further into what Martin Luther would have said the day before he was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1521. You surely have not had any concern about this, but my 96-year-old dad, alive and well and just about as sharp as a tack, pointed out that I did not do that yet, and that I should keep my promise to you. Thanks, Dad, you’re still teaching me to do the right thing. And I will. I promise.
Second, let me tell you something I have been wanting to tell you for a long time. And that is how much I appreciate the articles and insights of my colleagues who share this space in The Citizen. Both Father Paul Massey and Pastor David Chancey give us Biblical and helpful food for thought in each article they write. I love Father Paul’s format of answering your questions. It’s brilliant. I wish I had thought of it first. He certainly meets us right where we live our lives. And David added to his long list of excellent articles with his fearless message just last week.
In that article “Does God consider you faithful?” David picks up the sword of the Spirit and boldly asks us to evaluate our faithfulness to God and analyze our actions which give witness to that faithfulness. That’s the true heart of a pastor, who loves people enough to ask the hard questions when they need to be asked. It reminds me of the question I believe is so important: If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?
Which leads me to the title at the top of this article. Yes, next week many of you will be on Spring Break or have some shift from your normal routines. That’s great. Have fun. I hope you have family time and build even more great memories. These times are so important. Don’t miss your opportunities while you have them.
But then the week after that is an even greater opportunity you won’t want to miss. It’s Holy Week. I hope and pray, yes literally, that you will take advantage of the opportunities of Holy Week to live out your faith together with your family and build important memories that will even out-live your Spring Break memories.
Sunday, April 9, is Palm Sunday and The Sunday of The Passion. Be sure to be in the “crowd in Jerusalem,” to wave palm branches and to greet Jesus as he rides in on the donkey, and to sing and shout, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
This begins the week of our intense faithfulness as Christians, in which we go along with Jesus in that last week of his life, a week so vital to his work as our Savior and the Savior of the world. We remember his “Passion,” his suffering and death, which sets the mood for the rest of the week until the glorious joy of Easter Sunday morning.
We continue Holy Week with Maundy Thursday, which this year is April 13. “Maundy” means “mandatory or command.” This is the night Jesus ate the Last Supper with his disciples and changed the Passover into what we call Holy Communion. He then commanded his disciples to continue to “Do this in remembrance of me.”
He gave his second command that night after he had washed their feet, which was strange that the Teacher would wash the disciples’ feet instead of the other way around. He then commanded them to “Love one another as I have loved you.” Be sure to be faithful and “be at that table” to receive your Holy Communion and hear Jesus’ commands to you.
The next day is that day we Christians mark with our utmost respect and reverence. It has that very strange name, Good Friday, this year on April 14. It is the day Jesus’s suffering ended in his death on the cross. As Christians, we show our full faithfulness to God and our full faith and love for Jesus Christ and what he did in taking our rightful punishment for our sin upon himself and his body. We “drop everything” and “go to the cross.”
It is on that cross that Jesus did pay for all our sins, and in so doing, set us free from sin, death, and the power of the devil. That’s why it’s Good Friday. Our worship services on this day and this night are the most solemn of the entire year, yet also probably the most “impressive” as well. Be faithful. Go to the cross.
Of course, Holy Week concludes with the glorious celebration of The Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday morning, April 16. And, of course, we “go to the empty tomb!” We sing “Jesus Christ is risen today! Alleluia! Our triumphant holy day! Alleluia!”
Be faithful. Amen.
Find Holy Week info at www.princeofpeacefayette.org